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Notre Dame is Set to Join the Big Ten in Men's Hockey
By Patrick Murphy
The Fighting Irish already play Big Ten teams so why not join the conference?
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Notre Dame is set to join the Big Ten… in men’s ice hockey.

The Big Ten conference announced today that the Fighting Irish will become the league’s seventh hockey program for the 2017-18 season. Notre Dame will join Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State, Penn State, and Wisconsin as members.

“Notre Dame hockey has a long history of competing with Big Ten programs and we’re pleased to renew those rivalries as part of conference hockey competition,” Big Ten deputy commissioner Brad Traviolia said in the press release. “The Big Ten continues to grow the sport of hockey in our conference and the addition of Notre Dame as a sport affiliate assists in that goal.”

The Fighting Irish are familiar with many of the programs in the Big Ten, having shared conferences with five of the six current members. Notre Dame was part of the WCHA along with Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, and Wisconsin from 1971-1981 and aligned with the Wolverines, Spartans, and Buckeyes in the CCHA from 1992-2013.

Since its formation in 2013, the Big Ten has played with six members, though coaches have discussed the need for more. Those six hockey programs have combined for 23 national championships, 256 All-Americans, and nine Hobey Baker Award winners.

This is the 56th year of hockey at Notre Dame. Under current head coach Jeff Jackson, a former Michigan State player, the Irish have qualified for the NCAA Tournament seven times in 11 seasons, reaching the Frozen Four twice (2008 and 2011).

Notre Dame is 19-10-7 on the year and will face future Big Ten rivals Michigan in Fridays NCAA opener.

The Fighting Irish will play one more season in the Hockey East, where they finished third this year, before making the move to the Big Ten for 2017-18.

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